It's not just the TRS-80; new submitter sebt writes "ZX Spectrum, the microcomputer launched in 1982 by Sinclair Research (Cambridge, UK) turns 30 today. The launch of the machine is seen by many today as the inspiration for a generation of eager young programmers, software and game designers in the UK. The events surrounding its launch, notably Sinclair's well-known rivalry with Acorn, later helped to inspire the design of the ARM architecture and most recently the Raspberry PI (based on ARM), in an effort to reboot the idea of enthusiastic kid programmers first captured by the Spectrum and Acorn's BBC micro. Happy birthday Spec!"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
hypnosec writes "Springer Science and Business Media has discovered that during 2010, almost 70 per cent of the overall power draw of the world's consoles was thanks to idling. This total came to over 10.8 TWh of energy, equating to well over a billion dollars in wasted power. The biggest culprit for the trio of main consoles of this generation was the PlayStation 3, with its first edition having an active power draw of 180 watts and an idling draw of 167. As the report states, the Xbox 360 wasn't much better however, with active/idle draws of 172/162w respectively. Both of those consoles have got far better with their hardware revisions, more than halving the idle power consumption, but the Wii has been ahead of the curve the whole time. Its active/idle power draws were as low as 16/11w. The only real difference with the Nintendo console was whether its WC24 was enabled or not. With it on, standby power jumped from 2w to 9w."
An anonymous reader writes with this "interview with John R Hogerhuis, one of the key players in the still suprisingly active community for the TRS-80 Model 100 portable computer. As the Model 100 approaches its 30th birthday, John talks about what has kept the machine popular for so long, current software and hardware work that is keeping it relevant, and what modern developers could learn from spending some on a computer from 1983."
Cerlyn writes "In order to celebrate 30 years of Frogger, Tyler DeAngelo and his friends created a version of Frogger synchronized to actual vehicles on 5th Avenue in New York City. Unlike a previous (dangerous) attempt at recreating the game, this version fits safely inside of a Frogger arcade cabinet, and pictures and videos of the construction of the game are available as well." (Just scroll down that first link to see the construction details.)
New submitter seb42 writes "Pixel Qi announces new screens that can match or exceed the image quality of the screen in the iPad3, with a very low power mode that runs at a full 100X power reduction from the peak power consumed by the iPad3 screen. Hope the Google tablet has this tech." The claims are pretty bold, and specific: "We have a new architecture that matches the resolution of the ipad3 screen, and its full image quality including matching or exceeding contrast, color saturation, the viewing angle and so forth with massive power savings."
trichard writes with this quote from an AP report: "Ameren Missouri is vying to be the first utility in the country to seek a construction and operating license for a small-scale nuclear reactor, a technology that's appealing to utilities because of the smaller upfront costs and shorter development lead times. The small reactors, about a fourth or less the capacity of full-size nuclear units, are appealing to the nuclear industry because they could be manufactured at a central plant and shipped around the world. By contrast, building nuclear reactors today is a more cumbersome process that must be done largely on site and takes years."
MrSeb writes "As part of IBM's Battery 500 project — an initiative started in 2009 to produce a battery capable of powering a car for 500 miles — Big Blue has successfully demonstrated a light-weight, ultra-high-density, lithium-air battery. In it, oxygen is reacted with lithium to create lithium peroxide and electrical energy. When the battery is recharged, the process is reversed and oxygen is released — in the words of IBM, this is an 'air-breathing' battery. While conventional batteries are completely self-contained, the oxygen used in a lithium-air battery comes from the atmosphere, so the battery itself can be much lighter. The main thing, though, is that lithium-air energy density is a lot higher than conventional lithium-ion batteries: the max energy density of lithium-air batteries is theorized to be around 12 kWh/kg, some 15 times greater than li-ion — and more importantly, comparable to gasoline."
Jake Elliott and Jon (not Elwood) Cates are the ones who describe Glitch Art people as 'weirdos within the weirdos' in the context of Notacon 9, which was recently held in Cleveland. It's 'an annual event that focuses on people who like to build, make, break and hack stuff,' and even in the Notacon context the Glitch Artwork crowd stands out. Sit down with Jake and Jon and share their joy in working with "feral glitches... before they are domesticated," and see some of the output from artist Dave Musgrave's circuit-bent consoles.
An anonymous reader writes "NASA just unveiled its new Sustainability Base — an exceptionally efficient building that harnesses technology developed for the International Space Station. The high-tech complex produces more energy than it consumes and it was just awarded LEED Platinum certification, making it the greenest federal building in the nation. The project features an extensive network of wireless sensors that allow the building to automatically react to changes in weather and occupancy and NASA's forward-osmosis water recycling system, which cuts water use by 90% compared to a traditional building."
An anonymous reader writes "Are dark webdesigns an energy saving alternative to a snow white Google? The theory is websites with black backgrounds save energy, based on the assumption that a monitor requires more power to display a white screen than black. Is this a blatant green washing ploy by Blackle.com, or an earnest energy saving tweak for a search tool we use every day? To find out, PCSTATS hooked up an Extech Power Analyzer to a 19" CRT and a 19" LCD and measured power draw — turns out there is a not insignificant difference ..."
thecarchik submits this interesting bit of flame: "Many are keen on the concept of open source electric cars — that is, electric cars where the built-in software can be tweaked, parameters can be changed, and in theory, the cars can be improved. Only it's a really, really bad idea. ... Even carmakers themselves have trouble with software — Fisker has issued a recall and apology recently with its Karma — so allowing average Joe to tweak the car's inner workings seems like a bad idea. Changing the characteristics of an electric car isn't as simple as re-jetting the carbs or swopping out the air filter." Whether software is controlling electric cars or not seems to me beside the point; access to the underlying software doesn't guarantee improvements, but blocking access to it doesn't stop car makers from making software mistakes — it only ensures that those few interested hackers who might be able to work around them have a harder time of it. (Not that tweaking car software is new, or going away.)
An anonymous reader writes "Getting access to enough water to drink in a desert environment is a pretty tough proposition, but Eole Water may have solved the problem. It has created a wind turbine that can extract up to 1,000 liters of water per day from the air. All it requires is a 15mph wind to generate the 30kW's of power required for the process to happen. The end result is a tank full of purified water ready to drink at the base of each turbine."
miller60 writes "Apple says Greenpeace has wildly overestimated the amount of power it uses in its data center in North Carolina, and used that bad math to give the company a low grade on sustainability. Apple says it uses 20 megawatts of power at its iDataCenter, a fraction of Greenpeace's estimate of 100 megawatts in a new report on energy use by cloud computing providers. Apple says that its huge solar array and biogas-powered fuel cell will supply 60 percent of the facility's power, not the 10 percent claimed by Greenpeace."
mdsolar writes in with a Reuters article about the continued fallout of Fukushima on the nuclear industry in Japan. "Japan will within weeks have no nuclear power for the first time in more than 40 years, after the trade minister said two reactors idled after the Fukushima disaster would not be back online before the last one currently operating is shut down. Trade Minister Yukio Edano signaled it would take at least several weeks before the government, keen to avoid a power crunch, can give a final go-ahead to restarts, meaning Japan is set on May 6 to mark its first nuclear power-free day since 1970. 'If we thoroughly go through the procedure, it would be (on or) after May 6 even if we could restart them,' Edano told a news conference, adding that whether they can actually be brought back online is still up to ongoing discussions. The crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where a huge earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 triggered radiation leaks, has hammered public faith in nuclear power and prevented the restart of reactors shut down for regular maintenance checks, with all but one of 54 reactors now offline."